If baby boomers had enjoyed access to the kinds of leadership tools now available, they might have attained their goals much more quickly. That's the thinking of Donna Kalikow, executive director of the Center for Public Leadership. And that's why she and her colleagues aim to give today's aspiring leaders not only what can help them be more effective than previous generations but, she says, what the "millennials" also seem to crave: specific training on how to lead.
Based at Harvard's Kennedy School, CPL offers courses, workshops, and lectures that emphasize adaptability, collaboration, and personal awareness. CPL's skills apply across all sectors, from advocacy to business—useful for today's younger generation, many of whom will dip into more than one field in the course of their careers. "Even if you chose one sector, no way can you effect change without working with the other sectors," says Kalikow.
The message resonates well with this generation, which she characterizes as flexible, savvy, and geared toward collaborative work. They're also particularly focused on trying to solve global issues, whether poverty or climate change, she says, often causing CPL's workshops on social change and entrepreneurship to be oversubscribed. And so, despite widespread worry about the state of the nation, Kalikow is confident in the country's future leadership.
"I don't care how bad it gets. These young leaders are willing to take this on," Kalikow says. "And we're all prepared to help them."